Tattoo or not to tattoo

panthertatGot a tattoo at a kids party on Friday. Stylised panther looking back over its shoulder (similar to the one shown). Figured I’d try for something more than the tribal pattern or the flaming skulls, demonic heads, superhero and rugby emblems. Lets face it, I may be a geekdad, I’m not a Transformer kinda guy and I don’t have delusions of a bold ‘S’ on my hairy chest. Ok, no, not a real tattoo. One of those spray on versions that lasts for about a week. Kids love them. Poor dude sat in the blazing African sun for about two hours tattooing five year olds and when they were done, the Moms jumped at the chance. Strangely I was the only Dad who had one.

I don’t have a real tattoo, never thought of getting one. Had the long hair and pierced ears but never quite took to the barbed wire armband or ‘Mom’ over the bicep. My best friend at design college, now a Dad Down Under, is covered in them and had a few done during the good old carefree days of weekends in a little town getting plastered on liquor discounted by the local mines and breaking into public swimming pools to take skinny dips at 2am on a dare. Brings to mind a few interesting tales best left forgotten. I digress.

One thing I remember is that he had his kids names tattooed on each forearm and I don’t recall ever thinking much of it until now – nearing old fart-hood (yah yah, maybe I have long since entered it).

I’m no wallflower, but I am not one for making statements or trying to draw attention to myself but what I found most interesting is the looks. Anyone in the know, would know at a sneer that it’s just temporary but the average Joe and Jane that notice them on the street seem to do more than the usual glance and look away. Some even stare. At a little 4cm tat on my forearm? Huh? Now I figure I look the type (I would never feature in GQ), dark hair, dark tan, dark eyes, dark short beard, just a hiccup short of 6’, medium build (need to lose 15 pounds to change that to well built) so is it really that out of place on me? Or am I not the type – do I have it wrong? Or are tattoos that rare that they surprise people? Or does the tattoo say something else that, I, being a slightly overweight old fart, know nothing about?

Now that I think about it, I don’t really know of anyone in the current circle of friends and parents who have tattoos. Probably a few tramp stamps hidden away but nothing obvious that I have noticed. One Mom has got a pair of ladies in a sort of infinity symbol on her arm, but its day in the sun has long past. Perhaps tattoos are something of a novelty these days. Perhaps it’s nothing more than that.

My question is this. Why after all these years of disinterest am I seriously considering pulling out my sketchbook and roughing up a design of the names of my kids to have tattooed on my arm? Is this the first stage in the proverbial midlife crisis I am about to have? Sure, next year I hit the official downhill milestone and I have my scary demons to deal with, but I don’t see myself driving an Eleanor and ditching my family while I find the path to old age in the arms of some brainless blonde bimbo.

Nah, too old for that shit.

So what’s the deal with this budding tattoo fetish? Go on, psychoanalyse me…


ps. Temporary tattoo guy was off to do a bachelorette party on Saturday night. Hmmm, the trials of youth.


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